KAMPALA (Reuters) – America has cancelled its statement of Uganda’s presidential election as a result of most of its accreditation requests have been denied and mentioned Thursday’s vote would lack accountability and transparency.
The announcement provides to a rising refrain of concern over the credibility of the election pitting Yoweri Museveni, certainly one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, in opposition to 10 candidates together with opposition frontrunner Bobi Wine, a well-liked singer.
Whereas earlier elections have been marred by crackdowns on the opposition, campaigning this time has been notably violent. Scores of individuals have been killed and opposition candidates, supporters and marketing campaign employees have been repeatedly arrested and intimidated.
The European Union mentioned on Tuesday that the electoral course of had been significantly tarnished by the extreme use of pressure and its provide to deploy a small crew of electoral consultants was not taken up.
A coalition representing tons of of Ugandan civil society organisations mentioned on Wednesday that it had filed 1,900 accreditation requests however solely 10 had been granted.
“Absent the strong participation of observers, notably Ugandan observers who’re answerable to their fellow residents, Uganda’s elections will lack the accountability, transparency and confidence that observer missions present,” the U.S. embassy in Uganda mentioned in an announcement tweeted by its ambassador.
Museveni’s spokesman Don Wanyama mentioned the African Union and East African Neighborhood would deploy observers and he could not keep in mind when Uganda final despatched screens to america.
In an tv tackle on Tuesday, Museveni dismissed interference by overseas companions saying they did not perceive that Uganda’s energy got here from the ruling Nationwide Resistance Motion (NRM), the military and the financial system.
“We subsequently do not want lectures about something from anyone. As a result of there’s nothing we do not know,” mentioned Museveni, carrying a navy camouflage jacket.
Uganda is a Western ally, a potential oil producer and is taken into account a stabilising pressure in a area the place battle has plagued some neighbours. It additionally contributes the most important contingent of an African Union pressure combating Islamist insurgents in Somalia.
Bobi Wine, whose actual identify is Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, is one the primary opposition politicians to channel the grievances of younger folks right into a viable problem and this has rattled the NRM, analysts say.
With almost 80% of its folks beneath 30, Uganda has certainly one of Africa’s youngest populations. Meaning nearly all of Ugandans have been born after Museveni took energy in 1986 following a five-year guerrilla battle.
Greater than a dozen European nations, Britain, Canada and america expressed their concern on Tuesday about media freedom and the harassment of reporters forward of the vote.
Reporters protecting opposition protests have been attacked by the safety forces. Final week, police chief Martin Okoth Ochola mentioned reporters can be crushed for their very own good, to cease them going to locations the place their lives is likely to be in danger.
“It is arduous to say there wont be violence,” mentioned a senior EU diplomat. “Each little bit of the safety equipment shall be on the streets. Theoretically that brings calm, however I believe we all know that simply brings flashpoints.”
Uganda additionally banned all social media platforms and messaging apps on Tuesday till additional discover.
Museveni apologised for the inconvenience however mentioned Uganda had no alternative after Fb (NASDAQ:) took down some accounts which backed his ruling occasion.
In what analysts referred to as a show of pressure amounting to preventative intimidation, a convoy of armoured navy automobiles rolled by way of predominantly opposition areas of the capital Kampala on Tuesday.
“The systematic try to cease free data, to intimidate voters, and to harass opposition candidates signifies that that is not a reputable election,” mentioned Nic Cheeseman, a professor of democracy at Birmingham College.